Hello everyone! Today I took a trip with SBB to the famous Verzasca Valley, witnessed the 007 – Bungy Jumping like James Bond and saw the Roman bridge (also called jump bridge) – Ponte dei salti. After its partial destruction occured in 1868 it has been reconstructed in 1960. All the three places are in the Italian canton of Switzerland. You will almost feel you are in Italy already. 🙂
However, the most impressive thing is actually the river in the valley. The first moment I saw it, one sentence jumped in my head, as clear as crystal and as green as jade. No matter how deep the water is, you can always see the bottom. You can swim there, sun bathe there or even dive there. I saw quite some people jumping off the Ponte dei salty. However, be careful with the water. There are many signs saying there “Viel Spass Aber Aching!” (Have fun but be careful). The current can be quite strong at certain points and as the water is so clear, you don’t really know how deep it actually is.
Now let’s begin our journey.
It takes around 2 hours 20 mins to Bellinzona, then you need to take an urban train S20 (in the direction of Locarno) to Tenero. From Tenero train station, it takes 3 mins to walk to Tenero bus stop. Now you just need to take one bus and it connects all the attractions: Locarno, Verzasca Dam and Ponte dei Salti. Of course it stops at Tenero bus stop so you can get on. 🙂
I suggest you go to Verzasca Dam (stop name: Diga Verzasca) and Ponte dei Salti (stop name: Lavertezzo Paese) first and the the last stop, Locarno.
Of course you can go directly from Zürich HB to Locarno and take the bus route and come back and then go back to Zürich. However, it takes longer time and I find the route kind of redundant.
- The train can be quite crowded sometimes and quite some seats are reserved. When you board the train, you don’t necessarily need to find free seats. Seats with reservations starting from the stations after your destination are definitely ok to sit on. 🙂
- Sit on the right side of the train and close to the window, you’ll have a great view of the lakes and mountains. 🙂
- Take a jacket if you are just wearing a t-shirt. It could get quite cold in the train as the air-conditioner is working really well. 🙂
- Be careful because you might not have signal in the valley.
The bus from Tenero to Lavertezzo Paese is quite crowded. But when the bus climbs the mountain, the view is amazing. Remember to take some medicine beforehand if you are sensitive to motion sickness due to the serpent road. Don’t worry if you can’t find some stops such as the Diga Verzasca (Verzasca Dam) on the station board, you will see it on the screen once you’re in the bus.
The bus goes from Locarno – Tenero – the dam – the bridge. First of all, the dam. Suggested visiting time is half an hour but you should check the bus schedule. If you have a car and you’re a good driver, driving might not be a bad option as you can see from the bus schedule (pictures above), it is very infrequent. sometimes you even need to wait for 2.5 hours for the next bus.
If you wish to take a bus, planing in advance the dam first or the bridge first is of great importance. For example, I arrived at 12:30 at Tenero and I got off at the dam first. I spent around 1 hour walking there, taking pics and watching people bunny jumping. Then I caught the next bus and continued the journey to the bridge. I spent another 1 hour in the small town and then caught the bus going to Locarno. If I went directly to the bridge first and then I go the dam, the next bus would be coming in 2.5 hours. I can’t imagine what I would do for 2.5 hours at the dam.
First stop: Contra Dam (suggested visiting time: 0.5 hour but check bus schedule)
The dam is 220m high and it was built between 1961 and 1965. It accumulated so much water that it even caused small earthquakes till 1971.
The opening scene of James Bond movie Golden Eye, featuring Bond jumping off the dam was shot here. The jump was voted as the best movie stunt of all time in 2002.
If you’re interested in the Bungy Jump please click here to visit the official website for more info about the kinds of jumps, the prices, contact etc..
There is a tourist office/shop right at the entrance, you can food, drinks or souvenirs there.
Second stop: Ponte dei salti (suggested visiting time: 1-2 hours but check bus schedule)
Tip: it’s better to visit Ponte dei Salti, Lavertezzo at midday as too early or too late the mountains at two sides will block the sun and the water doesn’t look as nice. (better before 15:30)
Third stop: Locarno (suggested visiting time: 2 hours, depending on what you wanna do in the city)
For this city, don’t mix it up with Lugano. :).
This is not a huge city and is famous for lake Maggiore, Visconteo Castle, Piazza Grande and the Locarno Film Festival. All these attractions are within walking distance, but if you don’t wanna walk, You can take bus 1,2,7,311 directly from the train station to the castle and it’s only a few stops away. As I’ve been to three castles in bellinzona I didn’t actually go in. However, if you’re interested the entrance ticket for adult is 7 chf. (Tbh, I don’t think this is a famous castle……)
If you wanna take a ship from Locarno on Lago Maggiore be aware that GA or Swiss Pass are not valid as the operation company is Italian. There is also a park Parco giochi Al Burbaglio, Muralto, which is along the Maggiore lake. It’s a very nice place to relax and take a rest. 🙂
This is basically the end of my trip today. Hope you will have a great adventure in Verzasca valley and Locarno. 🙂